Geeks Night Out to celebrate technology’s wacky, serious sides - East Valley Tribune: Business

Geeks Night Out to celebrate technology’s wacky, serious sides

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Posted: Friday, February 3, 2012 6:41 am | Updated: 5:20 pm, Fri Feb 3, 2012.

About 20 percent of Tempe's jobs are technology-related, and many of those folks probably can't shake the stereotype that they're geeks.

But Tempe is hoping to embrace all that geekiness this month with Geeks Night Out, an event that celebrates the serious and frivolous aspects of science, technology and science fiction.

The Feb. 16 event features about 20 activities. The more serious aspects of Geeks Night include a panel of entrepreneurs, a jobs fair and a movie screening of how eating the right foods improves your health. On the silly side, there's a Phoenix Comicon costume contest and the Arizona Ghostbusters.

And some controversy is sure to erupt with a beat-the-geek competition: Star Trek vs. Star Wars.

The event is a first for Tempe.

But interest is so high that organizers are already thinking about making it an annual event, city spokeswoman Kris Baxter-Ging said. People started geeking out as soon as the city announced it wanted costumed volunteers to show up on Mill Avenue to help produce a promotional video.

"With just 24 hours notice, we had about 50 people show up in costumes," Baxter-Ging said. "Not just costumes, but elaborate costumes."

The video features Mayor Hugh Hallman in a partial Darth Vader costume, wielding a light saber and leading geeks along Mill Avenue.

Tempe has also had high interest in an event where people can pitch ideas for tech-related products to a group of entrepreneurs, the LaunchSpot technology incubator and Arizona State University.

Geeks Night is one of many statewide events taking place in February and March as part of the Arizona SciTech Festival.

Most of the Geeks Night events take place from 5-10 p.m. at MADCAP Theater at Centerpoint on Mill. Activities include:

• GameTruck, a Valley-based company with 50 franchises nationwide, that delivers mobile gaming centers to parties or events.

• Robots, along with other programs offered by ASU's Fulton School of Engineering.

• Children's science book readings by ASU authors Conrad Storad and Betty Davidson.

• Allied Paranormal Investigations will lead a tour of Monti's La Casa Vieja to investigate potential haunting.

For more information or to see the promotional video, go to www.tempe.gov/business/scitechfest/.

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